Taffanel: Genius of the Flute

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Music - 322 pages
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The French flute player and conductor Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) was an extraordinary virtuoso and a major figure in fin de si�cle Parisian musical life. Based on a treasure trove of private documents of Taffanel's previously unpublished letters and papers, Taffanel: Genius of the Flute recounts the rich story of his multi-faceted career as a player, conductor, composer, teacher, and leader of musical organizations.

As a player, Taffanel had a rare vision of the flute as a serious, expressive instrument and is credited with re-establishing it in the mainstream of music. He was also an inspiring teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, to whom many modern flutists can trace their roots. In 1879, Taffanel founded the Soci�t� de musique de chambre pour instruments � vent (Society of Chamber Music for Wind Instruments), reviving the wind ensemble music of Mozart and Beethoven, and breaking the dominance of piano and strings in recital and chamber music. From 1890, he served as chief conductor at the Paris Opera and the Soci�t� des Concerts du Conservatoire (Paris Conservatory Orchestra)--the first time a flutist, rather than a string player, had been appointed to such key positions.

Edward Blakeman expertly places these and many other elements of Taffanel's story in the rich political and cultural backdrop of the time, evoking Conservatoire intrigues, the Soci�t� des concerts, and Taffanel's relationships with various musicians and major composers. Blakeman details the circumstances surrounding landmark commissions, performances, and repertoire, and weaves the details from Taffanel's correspondence with first-person interviews and flute lore. What emerges is a portrait of an all-around musician who was also a modest and genial man.
  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
Early Life
5
The Conservatoire and After
16
Advances and Retreats
25
New Beginnings
39
Composing for the Flute
53
The Wind Society
67
The Magic Flute
96
Last Words on the Flute
198
conclusion
217
Papiers Paul Taffanel
219
Paul Taffanel Works List
223
Music Dedicated to Paul Taffanel
228
Socit classique
231
Paris Conservatoire Flute Class
249
Notes
269

From Russia to the Paris Exhibition
119
Toward a New Career
139
Wielding the Baton
155
Teaching the Flute
179

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)


Edward Blakeman is Editor of Live Music at BBC Radio 3 in London, in charge of broadcasting opera, orchestral concerts, and the annual summer season of the BBC Proms. As a flute player and writer on music, he has long been fascinated by all things French, and this book is the result of many happy times of work and play in Paris.

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